Madison County woman brings awareness to anxiety, COVID-19 vaccines

Posted at 9:28 AM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 11:11:02-04

MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — As COVID-19 vaccinations continue, providers have seen an increased demand for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. While health officials say people should get their first available option, some are waiting specifically to get this vaccine due to anxiety.

Kim York of Madison County says having anxiety brings challenges that can be difficult to overcome.

“Your mind takes you places and what would be rational situations for most people, it takes you to irrational places many times,” she said.

With COVID-19, York says this can mean thinking about the worst possible outcome of contracting the virus. While having a vaccine may seem like it would calm those concerns, she says that's not necessarily the case.

“’Am I going to have an allergic reaction? Am I going to die?’” These are the questions York said can go through the mind of someone with anxiety.

Some vaccine providers have also noticed this thought process.

“There is fear. I've given some to people who could barely make it through getting one vaccine, let alone the idea of getting two,” said Shelley Roberts, owner of Grassroots Pharmacy in Lexington.

That's why York says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is ideal for her and others in her situation, but she says getting it hasn't been easy. One issue is its availability, or lack thereof, in certain areas. Several pharmacies and health departments say they don't always know what they'll receive.

“Our plan is to do Johnson & Johnson moving forward, but we're at the mercy of what we get from the federal government and through the state government,” said Kevin Hall communications director with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

York also says making an appointment can be tough because doses run out too quickly or she’s even dealt with push back from providers about waiting for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. She says the stigma surrounding anxiety is still out there and makes it difficult for people to get the help they need.

“It's a bigger community than I think people realize,” said York.

So, along with wanting the state to get more Johnson & Johnson vaccines, she wants to bring awareness and hopefully understanding to the challenges people face in trying to help themselves and their community.